Precious Metal Clay or PMC is a very customizable type of metal clay. It can be augmented with various designs to make it look attractive and eccentric (in a good way of course). One type of designing your PMC is the addition of stones into it.
There are two methods of setting stones into your PMC. One method is setting stones into your raw PMC before you fire it, then firing the stones to the PMC in order to set them securely. The second method involves firing the PMC with the stone, and then you add the stones in a metal setting that is soldered onto the PMC base. Both of the methods are effective in certain conditions, since some stones cannot survive the heat whenever you fire it with the PMC in the kiln.
Before knowing how to set a stone, you have to know what type of stone you are going to set. Some natural stones and most of cubic zirconium stones are safe to be fired into your PMC.
To set stones for PMC through the firing method:
- Your PMC must be in its raw (and wet) form before you set the stone.
- Determine the placing of stones. You cannot undo this process; so make sure that you will place the stone in a place you really want.
- Bore a small hole on your PMC base. Don’t worry, the hole won’t show; it will just end up underneath your stone.
- Know the type of bezel you want to surround your stone with.
- Form the prong setting or bezel around your stone.
- Start attaching your bezel to the PMC base using a PMC base or slip. Make sure you attach the bezel properly.
- If you want to add decorations to your bezel, do it right now. Use a syringe or any appliqué method to apply your design.
- Leave your piece out to dry overnight. Make sure your PMC piece is thoroughly dry.
- Dry finish your PMC and start filling in any cracks using slip. Allow your PMC piece to dry again.
- Here comes the part where you will start firing your PMC piece. Just remember to set the proper temperature in the kiln for your stones.
- After firing your PMC, do not douse it with cold water. This might ruin the setting of your stones. Allow your PMC piece to cool slowly.
- Once your piece is dry, you can then start your finishing touches on it. Clean it thoroughly, polish and do whatever touches you want.
Now that the first method is done, here are the steps for second method of adding stones to your Precious Metal Clay piece:
- After your fired PMC piece cools down, clean it, but don’t polish or add any patina to your piece.
- Gently file the surface where you will attach your prong setting or bezel on your PMC piece.
- Solder the setting on to your PMC piece, as you would do to type of silver piece.
- When the bezel or prong setting is already attached, finish it by polishing the whole piece (including the stone) and add patina to the PMC piece.
And there you have it, your very own PMC piece which you stoned yourself. Enjoy your Precious Metal Clay.